The Chalkboard: Leeds can’t afford to leave it late against Preston

Leeds United need to come out of the blocks strong against Preston on Tuesday night if they are to get anything from the game.

The Whites have had a tendency to hit top gear late on in matches, but that could prove costly as they come up against one of the toughest defences in the division.

On the chalkboard

Scoring late winners has often been described as the mark of champions but in this case it seems like a get out of jail free card more often than not.

The promotion contenders are often slow starters in games and end up rescuing wins late on, and although Marcelo Bielsa has got the Yorkshire club playing some great football they sometimes have to revert to hit and hope tactics when chasing a win.

It’s a formula that can’t work forever and United’s loss to Birmingham has to be the wake-up call that Bielsa needed heading into the game at Deepdale.

Leeds have been the masters of grinding down teams and finding the net late on. They have scored 30 goals after the hour-mark in games this season but they will have to rethink their strategy when they travel to Deepdale to face a team who only get stronger at the back as the game progresses.

Get an early goal

Preston are formidable at the back and Bielsa’s men need to score early to avoid dropping points for the second time in a week.

Leeds couldn’t break down Birmingham’s backline on Saturday despite spending the last 10 minutes camped out in their half peppering the box with crosses.

The Lancashire club provide a tougher test for Leeds’ attack as they possess one of the strongest defences in the division, and they seemingly get stronger in the latter stages of matches.

Preston’s rearguard have become one of the best in the country conceding just 15 goals in 17 games since Christmas, and they have not let in a second-half goal in their previous five Championship games.

United need to come out all guns blazing, Preston are no longer a team that concede late goals and that’s down to Alex Neil’s ability to adjust as a match goes on. The longer the Yorkshire club go without scoring the more time the Scot will have to give his defenders the instructions they need to keep the opposition out.